Frank Estrada is Mississippi artist and printmaker. Originally from Memphis, TN, he moved to Oxford, MS to attend the University of Mississippi. He was first introduced to printmaking when he took an intro class in the fall of 2010. He fell in the love with medium after that. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Printmaking and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology in 2013 from the University of Mississippi.
For his 2013 BFA Thesis Exhibition My Red, White, and Blue, Estrada merged his knowledge of art and sociology together and printed large-scale woodcuts that dealt with the struggle of Mexican immigrants obtaining the “American Dream.” He printed in black and white in order to keep the same visual concept of propaganda, just as Posada and Méndez did. The images generally included people of Mexican descent and their struggle to achieve the “American Dream” and adapt into mainstream society. He presented views of struggle by incorporating the hardships Mexicans go through in order to make a living in America, whether it’s picking tomatoes in a field, cleaning someone else’s home, taking care of someone else’s child, or risking it all just to become an “equal” in American society. The reasoning behind this was that even though Estrada is a Mexican American, he too, shares the hardships that Mexican immigrants undergo in order to become somebody in America.
Most of his undergraduate work consisted of Mexican culture but recent works have focused around southern culture. His work has been shown locally in festivals, galleries and restaurants in both Oxford, MS and Memphis, TN. His artwork has been displayed throughout the country as far as Los Angeles, CA. He managed to convert his spare bedroom, in a two bedroom apartment, into a working studio space.
Each one of Estrada’s woodcut prints are 100% handmade. Images are drawn onto a block, first in pencil and then outlined in black Sharpie. After the image is traced out, a thin coat of colored tempera paint is layered over it. This helps to see where cuts have been made. The image is then carved out using handheld chisels. After the image has been carved out completely, it’s then ready to be inked. Oil-based ink is then applied evenly on top of the block’s surface using brayers (rollers). A piece of archival paper is then placed on top of the inked block and then the two are cranked through a printing press or burnished by hand using a baren or wooden spoon. (Think of it as one big, giant stamp!)
Influences include: Elizabeth Catlett, Leopoldo Méndez, Jose Guadalupe Posada, Artemio Rodriguez, José Julio Rodríguez, Sean Starwars, Mariana Yampolsky and Drive By Press.
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